This week boss babe is Robyn Warren of Geek Girl Strong! She is a health and fitness instructor who coaches women in wellness and magic- and is the person I would want most on my side in any battle. Her classes range from personal lessons to the Fangirl Health Club. She is my woman crush everyday for how openly she discusses mental health and tries to build up a community of strong women. I have a huge goal of starting a side project with her and finding the time to do pole lessons. She is fierce and flawless and I want her to do this every day. Please check out her event with NYCC on June 25th! (And buy this week's Bitch Planet because she's on the back cover with Chavon of Geeky and Creepy)!
Tell us a little about yourself!
My name is Robyn Warren, some people on the internet know me as Stormy Riot. That's my gamertag and the name I used all over the internet while I was still a public school teacher. I was born and raise in Brooklyn, NY where I still live now with my 16 year old pup, and my partner/player 2/ex-boyfriend/new fiancé. I love video games, comic books, Harry Potter, Sci-Fi and more. I just started watching Star Trek and like it a lot more now than I did as a kid when I would watch it with my mom. I also love being physically active which leads us to...
Why did you decide to start your own business, and is it your full-time job?
I created Geek Girl Strong after teaching Physical and Health Education in the NYC public school system for five years. I realized that I wanted to live my entire life (not just in the classroom) as an example of better health. It's my brainchild, bringing all that I have worked on and towards together: wellness, female empowerment, and my geeky qualities.
More and more I am tempted to make the jump into making this my full-time work but right now I am also a Family Planning Health Educator at a Federally Qualified Health Center.
What exercise do your students enjoy the most vs what is your personal favorite routine?
I think that what they normally enjoy the most isn't necessarily what they want to do the most, which can be confusing...
I think they enjoy gamified workouts the most, ones that feel like playing. I think that a lot of them really like learning how to improve their arm strength, push-ups, pull-ups, the bench press... maybe even just lifting in general. They want to feel strong and express how bad ass they are! My personal favorite is lifting and dancing- separately and together as pole dancing.
Owning a small business is incredibly rewarding but can sometimes be viewed through rose tinted glasses. What are some challenges you face? Do you have any advice for others thinking of starting their own?
Time is the biggest challenge. I wish I had more time to put into my business since I am still doing other work full-time. Other than that I would say that the fear of not being financially secure is a very close second if not a tie.
I got some really great advice from a close friend of mine, Denise Cooper of Sexy Money, who is an amazing Financial/Business coach (I'll paraphrase) "Do you honestly believe that you/your business will put you in a position where you will not have a roof over your head or enough to eat? If that is the fear that is holding you back, realized how unlikely that is.
Another piece of advise is to let yourself cry sometimes, running your own business is HARD and sometimes you're going to crash, just make sure to keep good/supportive company around and get back up.
What gives you the drive to keep doing what you do?
I have different answers for this from day to day.
Today my answer is that I am tired of making my bosses rich. I am tired of having to compromise on my ethics and feel as if the main goal of my work is not actually to help people but to meet numbers and make others money.
I want Geek Girl Strong to be a world force, a community, and safe space... while also being able to take care of myself and my loved ones.
What are some of your best health tips?
Based on feedback from clients and friends I would say the biggest on is practicing self-care and being proud of it.
To find physical activities that you enjoy. If you're not having fun and feeling good about yourself you're not going to stick with it. Just like anything else, if it no longer serves you in the way you presently need it, it's time to reevaluate!
Lastly, eating a tasty, nutritious, diet. Whatever that means to you! There's no "one fits all" for any health thing ever, that includes diets. I aim to eat food that I enjoy and that will allow for my body to run well!
One thing that I've shared in regards to food lately is that I have really tried to take white (processed/altered/bleached) grains out of my diet almost completely (outside of chocolate pastries because they are my much loved guilty pleasure). I look at white rice as chocolate cake because once all the other parts of the grain are removed it is a simple carbohydrate, just like the sugar in cake. So, my inner dialogue goes something like; Robyn, you either get to have that rice or some cake later. That rice ain't sh*t compared to the chocolate cake I just envisioned.
What comic book/ nerd culture character do you identify with the most and why?
I can never choose one so here's four I think of the most haha (sorry):
-Harry Potter. Only child with a pretty traumatic child hood. Not the worst in class but not the best. Gryffindor.
-Vin (Mistborn Trilogy). Pretty rough childhood (see a theme? ha. ha.), little but fierce, more sensitive than she lets on.
-Lauren Olamina (Parable of the Sower). This was pointed out to me by two exes before I actually read the book myself. They weren't wrong. (Yes, more trauma.)
-Storm (X-men). Childhood trauma (I know, I know), New York native, bad ass Black lady.
Why is it important to you to support other women in the industry? Name drop a favorite boss babe that isn't Little Petal.
Because no one else is going to do this for us. We need to continue creating collectives and trusts and spaces where we can walk through doors then reach out hands back to pull someone else through with us, continually.
Choosing one name is really hard!!
Instead of I would like to shout out two people who I would love to see turn what they already do/are great at into their work...
Ashley Warren, is a bossy geeky lady in the best way possible... it makes her an amazing event planner. Even when she has been a guest or participant at my events I can always found on her to keep things running smoothly.
Chavon Coleman of Geeky and Creepy, has this incredible skill... She e-networks like no one else I know, I go to her when I need to find deals on ANYTHING, and she's pushing me to be better with social media marketing.
Let's just say that when able to I'd want to hire ladies like these to make and keep Geek Girl Strong a success.
In fifty years, if the world could remember any one thing about you and your business, what would you want it be?
Just that I was an inspiration of some kind, that I created Geek Girl Strong and it allowed for people to take better care of themselves in a way that was best for them.
Check out all of Robyn's classes at www.GeekGirlStrong.com including her event with NYCC on June 25th